Author Archives: Joe Heiler

Elite PT January Newsletter – Therapist Spotlight: Kristy Ockert

Hi everyone

Hope you had a great Christmas and New Years.

2017 was a great year for us at Elite Physical Therapy and hopefully 2018 will be more of the same.  It’s a blessing for us to be able to work closely with clients like yourself.  We really love getting to know our clients and helping them to achieve their rehabilitation and training goals.  It’s awesome to be able to do something you love for a living, and hopefully it shows!

Free Screening Day

We’ll be hosting another free screening day coming up in February (date to be announced soon).  This is an annual service we’ve started providing to the following:

  • All past physical therapy clients
  • All present clients who have another problem currently not being treated
  • All loved ones, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers of our past and present patients

If you are having pain or problems with day to day activities such as walking, standing, sitting for long periods, going up or down steps, getting in and out of the car, sleeping or driving, then this is an excellent opportunity to see one of our world-class therapists, find out the cause of your problem, and get some treatment ideas.

I’ll be sending out an email soon with more information on how you can take advantage of this free offer.

Therapist Spotlight – Kristy Ockert MSPT

Kristy Ockert began working at Elite Physical Therapy 2 years ago and overall has been practicing since 2002 in the outpatient setting. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a specialization in Health Promotion from Michigan State University and her Master of Science in Physical Therapy degree from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Kristy is a Certified Kinesio Taping Practioner (CKTP) and enjoys treating a wide variety of patient populations including post-operative, athletes, and patients with spinal dysfunctions.

She has enjoyed furthering her education with a Pilates specialization and various manual techniques including Graston Technique, Functional Dry Needling, Muscle Energy Technique (MET), Muscle Release Technique (MRT) and Myofascial Release (MFR). Kristy is passionate about providing one on one care to her patients and taking into account all pieces of their individual health puzzle for restoring optimal wellness and return to function.

Q & A:

What got you interested in physical therapy as a career?

It’s a long story!  When I was younger, I wanted to become a teacher, like my mom.  As I got into high school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor – either a pediatrician or sports medicine physician so I could focus on optimizing health for kids and athletes.

My first glimpse of PT was as a patient when I was injured during my high school senior year softball season.  I had a great PT and PTA work with me, but I didn’t think much of it until my senior year of college at MSU.  I decided that I did not want to go to medical school any longer and was looking for a new career path.

After some research and lots of deliberation, I changed my major from Human Biology to Kinesiology, which is the study of human movement.  I finally loved my classes – movement throughout the lifespan, biomechanics, adaptive movement, etc.  It all seemed to fall into place after that.  I got in touch with my former PTA and asked if I could interview her for a class assignment.  It turned into shadowing and weekly volunteering in a small outpatient clinic.  I was hooked!  If I were to become a physical therapist, I could work in the health care field with people of all ages and teach them about how to optimize their movement for improved quality of life.

Over the past couple years you’ve become certified in Graston Technique and dry needling.  Any other techniques you really like to use?

I also enjoy being a Certified Kinesiotaping Practitioner.  Whether it is to help with swelling, bruising, or scar tissue, working on retraining a muscle with proper activation or even unloading an injured area, Kinesiotape has so many uses.

What are your favorite things about being a PT?

I enjoy working with closely with people whether it’s younger athletes, weekend warriors, middle aged or even geriatric patients interested in remaining active.  If there are a few exercises, hands on techniques, and instruction in daily modifications that can make someone’s life more functional and optimize their movement, I’m happy!  I love seeing the changes that people go through from the start to finish of therapy.

Outside of working at Elite, what kinds of things do you and family enjoy?

I enjoy spending time with my husband of 16 years, Ken, and our three kids Carter (14), Peyton (11), and Emma (8).  We love watching movies, going to the beach, bowling and skiing as a family.  I also have a love-hate relationship with winter running, so I’m going to try snowshoeing with my running buddies this year for our longer distances to gear up for the 2018 racing season!

Kristy Ockert
 

 

 

 

 

 

Testimonial

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! After 5 years of physical therapy at numerous other locations, false diagnosis and lack of improvement, MRI’s that showed nothing, Kristy and Lydia correctly diagnosed the problem with my daughters knee and have fixed the problem! You have got her active again with little to no pain. You have brought a smile to her face and to her parents face as well! Thank you for getting her back to healthy! 5 stars isn’t enough! – M.R. Ludington

Sore Knees???
Pain site does not always equal pain source!

Just because your knee hurts doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem lies only with that knee.  You’ve got numerous joints above and below that must move correctly to take the pressure off the knees.

One of the prime examples (or prime offenders) is the ankle joint.  A stiff ankle will negatively affect your walking and running stride, ability to squat down, walk up/down stairs, balance, and more.

The client from the testimonial above was a great example of this.  Resolving her ankle mobility limitations went a long way toward making her knees feel better.

Check our the link below for a short article/video on how we assess and solve the problem of ankle mobility:  http://www.elitepttc.com/ankle-mobility-update/

This is exactly the kind of thing our free screening day is for!

Til next month

Joe Heiler PT

Elite PT November Newsletter – What PT Should Look Like

Hi guys

Hope you’re having a great week so far!  It’s time for another monthly newsletter so here is what’s going on this month at Elite PT:

  • What High Quality PT Should Look Like (my rant for the month)
  • Manual Therapy – What Can It Do For You?
  • Exercise of the Month – Bird Dog for Lower Back Pain

What High Quality PT Should Look Like

This is my rant for the month.  Twice in the past week we’ve had patients come to us that have failed PT elsewhere and were pretty much ready to give up and ‘just live with it until they were talked into giving us a try by previous clients of ours.

In both cases these folks actually saw their PT’s only briefly then were passed off to the tech, were left to do their exercises on their own most of the time (since the therapist was busy with other patients), and received little to no manual (hands-on) therapy.

Needless to say the results were not what these folks were hoping they would be!

I know I’m tooting our own horn here and I don’t normally like to do this but it really bothers me when the PT factories out there give us smaller practices a bad name.  High quality physical therapy practices should look like this:

  • One-on-one treatment sessions
  • Working closely with a PT, PTA, or Athletic Trainer.  No Tech’s!
  • A healthy dose of hands on manual therapy when needed
  • Exercise is closely supervised by your therapist
  • You know exactly what you need to do at home to make the treatment process a success

At Elite PT, we guarantee all of the above.  If you’re going to spend your hard earned money on physical therapy services then it should be somewhere where the focus is on YOU!

I feel better now.  Thanks for listening!

Manual Therapy – What can it do for you?

Manual therapy can be described simply as hands-on therapy.  Most patients are familiar with massage but there are many beneficial techniques to decrease pain and improve mobility.  There are a number of hands-on techniques we use in addition to using instruments like Graston Technique and Dry Needling.

Exercises and stretching are great but often aren’t good enough to stand alone.  Manual therapies can quickly decrease pain and get you moving again much faster when combined with exercise.

Case in point:  One of our clients,struggling elsewhere, came to us with a very stiff and painful ankle post-surgery.  He was very limited with his motion which was making it difficult to walk and do stairs.  He reported only one session of light massage in his previous 3 weeks of physical therapy and the rest of the time was spent working on stretching and balancing.

Check out the picture below to see how much ankle bend (dorsiflexion) he had walking in the door on day 1:

Ankle Dorsiflexion

The knee is stuck 2″ behind the big toe!

Now check out how much ankle bend he had after one treatment session with us:

Ankle Dorsiflexion 2

The knee is a 1/2″ past the big toe now

He came back for his second visit reporting that pain was reduced significantly and he was walking much better.

This is just one example of how quickly things can change with a little focused hands on therapy and exercise with a purpose.

If you want to learn more about how we use Graston Technique (one of our favorite manual therapies) to treat the foot and ankle then click the link here:  https://youtu.be/Ah2ZUpMuUjk

Exercise of the Month – Bird Dog

The bird dog is a very popular PT exercise plus you’ll find it in a lot of Yoga and Pilates classes as well. It can be used to address strength and stability from the neck down through the hips but there are some very specific things that need to be done to make it truly effective.

Check out the video below to see how we get the most mileage out of a seemingly simple exercise (and another reason why your therapist needs to be working with you one-on-one).  The corrections in this video are specifically for those who are dealing with lower back pain but can also be used to enhance stiffness and strength through the muscles of the core.

https://youtu.be/BC7iSY9PtP4

_________________________________________________________________

Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the rest of the month.  Talk to you in December!

Joe Heiler PT

Elite PT October Newsletter – Therapist Spotlight: Lydia Case

I can’t believe another month has flown by and it’s time for another newsletter.

Here is what you’ll find in this month’s issue:

  • Therapist Spotlight:  Lydia Case ATC
  • Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop has been moved to November 4th
  • Sports Medicine Clinic for High School and College athletes

Therapist Spotlight
Lydia Case joined Elite Physical Therapy back in July of 2015 and has been an invaluable part of our team ever since.  She works full time in the clinic plus during the school year she goes out to Kingsley High School two afternoons per week. She has been the athletic trainer at Kingsley for 11 years now.

Lydia has been practicing Athletic Training since 2006 in physical therapy and high school settings. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University, where she had experience working with the Men’s football and hockey teams. Before transferring to NMU Lydia ran track & field at Aquinas College, but also worked with the Women’s volleyball and Men’s basketball teams at Aquinas. Lydia is a certified Kinesio Taping Practioner(CKTP). She believes that every patient and athlete is unique and that their treatment and workouts should be tailored specifically for their individual needs in order to achieve their best outcome.

1)  What got you interested in athletic training?

My love for sports is what initially got me interested in athletic training- I thought what a great fit- you work with athletes out in the field and can also work with the general public in a PT clinic- NO day is ever the SAME.

2)  What do you like best about being an athletic trainer?

I get excited about helping people and seeing how each patient/athlete is unique. I have worked with people from ages 3 to 98 and everything in between and have so much fun because everyone is so different as well as their injury.  I find it so rewarding to help someone accomplish their goals.

3)  What do you do for fun other than just work at Elite?

I enjoy spending time with my family – we love to be outside especially tubing down the Boardman River, taking our dog Gus for a walk in the woods, and riding 4-wheelers. I also like to play games, mostly card games like euchre. I also enjoy running with my friends and have completed 5 half-marathons, but prefer to run the 10k distance. I have been married to my husband Dave for 11 years and have two kids, Delaney (8) and Owen (5).

Testimonial:

“When I first came to Elite PT I was devastated because I had a running injury that literally prevented me from doing anything.  I was going from exercising 6 days a week, running 3-4 days per week, to barely being able to walk!

I felt like Lydia and Kristy were as excited as I was to get started with strengthening exercises.  I experienced such relief from my treatment, and the exercise plans they put in place for me helped support rebuilding my strength.

I felt like I had my own cheering squad every step of the way.  I am now back to my regular exercise program!”  – L.T. Traverse City

_________________________________________________________

Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop moved to November 4th!

We will be hosting our first workshop on back pain and sciatica on Saturday November 4th from 10 – 11am.  If you know someone who has been suffering from back pain and/or sciatica then be sure to let them know about this workshop!

Lower back pain is a huge problem in this country, but unfortunately most people feel like there is no ‘cure’ and they just have to live with it.  Check out this short video for more information on the workshop and to listen to how this is one of the biggest ‘myths’ in the health care industry.

The workshop is technically for those who have not been clients of ours in the past.  Past clients receiving this newsletter are welcome to call us with questions ANYTIME!  We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and set up a time to get you in for a free screen if that is what is necessary.

Like I said, call us anytime!  231 421-5805
_________________________________________________________

NEW Sports Medicine Clinic Tuesday Afternoons

Many schools in our area don’t have access to athletic training services or team doctors at their games, so many young athletes with injuries don’t get the medical care they need.  We currently provide the athletic training services at Kingsley High School which has been extremely beneficial for our athletes.  The goal is to treat them early to keep them playing and also to keep them from more serious problems and costly treatment down the road.

Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere, so on Tuesday afternoons we’ll be offering free screenings to athletes with nagging injuries affecting their performance or keeping them from playing altogether.  We can diagnose the injury and get the athlete started down the road to recovery.  Athletes with more serious injuries should see their family physician!

Appointments will be available between 3 – 5pm.  Parents should call to make the appointment as we will need your contact information and at least verbal permission to examine your child. We prefer that a parent be able to make the appointment especially if the athlete is under 18 years of age.

Give us a call at 231 421-5805 to schedule a time.

See you next month!

Joe Heiler PT

Solving Lower Back Pain – Find the Pain Relieving Direction

Just a reminder we’ll be hosting a Back Pain and Sciatica workshop November 4th from 10-11am.  If you are suffering from lower back pain and/or symptoms that go down your leg then this is for you!

One of the topics we will be covering is what we call finding a directional preference.  Many folks with lower back pain, including symptoms down one or both legs, will have a direction that their back prefers to move in.  It could be flexion (forward bending) or extension (backward bending).  Finding a definite preference can often lead to a significant reduction in symptoms on day 1.

What is also true on many occasions is that moving in the opposite direction will make their symptoms worse.  So avoiding activities that increase pain, or just adapting them to avoid certain movements, can also reduce symptoms quickly.

Check out the new video for more information including a mini-case study on how it can work.

At Elite PT we are trained to determine if there is a directional preference and then how to best take advantage of that for a quicker recovery.  This is just one strategy that we will discuss at our Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.  For more information or to sign up just give us a call at 231 421-5805.

 

Elite PT Newsletter September 2017 – Back Pain Workshop + Meet our new PT!

In this month’s edition you’ll meet our newest addition to Elite Physical Therapy: Allie Hoyt DPT, ATC and learn about our first ever Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.  Here we go:

 

I can’t believe another month has flown by. It’s an exciting time of the year with kids going back to school (although my son would disagree) and high school sports getting started again.

Meet our new Physical Therapist

We are extremely blessed to be able to bring on a new PT and to find one as bright as Allie Hoyt.

Allie, DPT, ATC, graduated from Grand Valley State University’s doctorate of physical therapy program in 2017 where she completed clinical rotations with EXOS and The Ohio State University’s Performing Arts Medicine program. She graduated from Hope College’s athletic training program in 2014, where she gained experience working with men’s soccer and lacrosse, women’s basketball and volleyball, as well as cross-country and tennis.

Since 2014, she has been working as an athletic trainer and was one of the primary athletic trainers for the professional company members of the Grand Rapids Ballet. Through this, she continues to have a special interest in the performing arts, and more specifically with dancers. Her passion for movement started at a young age when she began dance classes that continued through high school and college.

Allie believes that everyone has the right to optimize their ability to move and she is happy to be able to help individuals reach their specific movement goals. She is extremely excited to join the Elite family!

Q: So how did you become interested in athletic training and physical therapy?

A: I started dancing at a young age and it was through dance that I first learned to love movement. I also ran cross country and track throughout middle school and high school. I was definitely NOT the star athlete, but because of my dance background everyone knew if they needed a muscle stretched I would be able to help. One day I was stretching my friend Liz’s hamstring and she bluntly said “Allie, you should be a physical therapist”. I laughed and thanked her, but I had no idea what a physical therapist was or did. I turned to Google that night and realized physical therapy sounded like a really cool profession. That summer I found myself shadowing a pediatric physical therapist and fell in love with rehabilitation.

Q: What excites you most about being a physical therapist?

A: I love the human body. It is amazing what our bodies are capable of and how they work! Being able to help others realize their body’s potential and reach their movement goals is why I enjoy this profession. I get to love and serve others through physical therapy and that is what excites me most.

Q: What types of things do you like to do outside of work?

A: I love to be outdoors, so hiking, biking, kayaking, and other modes of adventuring bring me joy. I also love good coffee and like to try out new coffee shops as well as brew my own cup of coffee using different methods. I have a dance background so you might find me trying out a dance class here and there as well.
Q: Who is your favorite college football team?

A: Notre Dame (I had to ask and no we didn’t hire her because she is a Notre Dame fan)

Allie has been through clinical internships at some pretty elite facilities around the country so she’s ready to take on the world of orthopedics and sports medicine. She’ll be seeing all types of cases from lower back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, shoulder pain, hip pain, and more. She has quite a background in dance medicine as well which is a very under served population in this area. She has a special interest in working with dancers to recover from injuries as well as prevent them. She’ll be putting together some special programs for dancers in the near future.

_______________________________________________________

Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop

We will be hosting our first workshop on back pain and sciatica on Saturday September 30th from 10 – 11am. If you know someone who has been suffering from back pain and/or sciatica then be sure to let them know about this workshop!

Lower back pain is a huge problem in the medical field and in this country. In fact we see more folks with lower back pain (and the resulting leg pain) more than any other diagnosis.

Unfortunately many people feel like there is no ‘cure’ and they just have to live with it. Check out this short video for more information on the workshop and to listen to how this is one of the biggest ‘myths’ in the health care industry.

The workshop is technically for those who have not been clients of ours in the past. Past clients receiving this newsletter are welcome to call us with questions ANYTIME! We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and set up a time to get you in for a free screen if that is what is necessary.

In other words, we don’t want you to wait! If its not going away after a couple weeks it may not go away at all without some sort of treatment. The sooner we get you pointed in the right direction, the sooner you get better!

Like I said, call us anytime! 231 421-5805

Have a great month of September!

Joe Heiler PT

Elite PT Newsletter August 2017 – solving lower back pain, free screenings, and more…

Hope you’ve been enjoying your summer!  We’ve got some great content covering lower back pain (plus a special offer) for you this month.

Here is what is in this month’s issue:

  • Solving lower back pain (this may sound familiar to a number of you)
  • Exercise tip of the month – fixing the ‘plank’
  • 6 years in business! Check out our special offer – its got something to do with back pain!

___________________________________________________________
“I Can’t Walk more than 10 Minutes!!!”

Sound familiar?

Last month we talked about one of the most common causes of lower back pain:  Spinal Stenosis.  Here is what that usually looks like:

  • 50 years and older
  • Standing and walking are limited
  • Sitting and/or lying down usually relieves symptoms

The title of this article is a direct quote from a frustrated client of ours at his initial evaluation.  He couldn’t stand or walk more than 10 minutes and it was really starting to effect his quality of life and ability to work around the house and yard.  We hear this stories like this one frequently and I’m sure there are a number of you reading this that are having this same experience.

In this case our client began having back pain with symptoms radiating into his hip and down the front of his left leg all the way to his big toe.  He wasn’t sure exactly how it started other than he was doing lots of walking that day.  By the time he came to see us he had been dealing with this pain for 6 months!  He fit the spinal stenosis category to a ‘T’:

  • over 50?  Check (70 years old)
  • limited standing and walking?  Check (10 minutes max)
  • sitting and/or lying down relieve symptoms?  Check

Our client participated in physical therapy for 8 visits over a 6 week time frame.  Treatment consisted of manual (hands on) treatment to decrease pain and relieve tone in the muscles of the lower back and hips as well as exercises to decrease his pain and improve the way he was moving and walking.

He is doing quite well now as he was able to walk around downtown Chicago a few weeks ago with only mild irritation in his leg (“not enough to stop me from having fun”).  He was also able to work outside for 4 hours the day prior to his last PT session without any pain.

Here is what he had to say: “I came in with numbness in my left leg from my groin all the way down to my foot that got worse any time I stood or walked.  I can do whatever I want now with only occasional numbness in my foot.  I thought for sure I was going to have surgery but now I’m doing my exercises to make sure this doesn’t ever come back.” – D.A. Traverse City

We’ve successfully treated numerous patients with similar symptoms over the years.  In fact we see more folks with lower back pain than any other diagnosis here at Elite PT.  Back pain can be severely debilitating but many times we can quickly decrease the pain and get you moving again with physical therapy.

Because of that, and as a way of saying “thanks” to you, our valued clients, I want to offer a free screen on August 24th to the first five former clients suffering from lower back pain.  If you fit the description above, call us now to get scheduled.  It’s only 30 minutes of your time but we’re confident we can get you started on the road to recovery.

The 24th of this month is also our 6th anniversary of being in business so I thought we’d do something fun.

Call 231 421-5805.  I guarantee this will fill up quickly so be sure to take advantage today!

PS – We’ve also been in business 6 years because of loyal clients like yourself referring family members and friends.  If you can think of someone this information might help, please share it with them!  I’d be happy to answer any questions they might have.  My email is joe@elitepttc.com or just call 231 421-5805.
_______________________________________________________

Exercise Tip of the Week

Planks are an extremely popular exercise but it is very often performed incorrectly.

front plank - hyperlordosis

Hint: your lower back shouldn’t arch that much!

I frequently ask patients and training clients where they feel like they are working the most… abs or  the lower back?

More than half the time they respond that they feel it more in their lower back!

I thought the plank was supposed to be an abdominal exercise?

Well it is when done correctly.  Watch the video below for a quick tutorial how to learn the proper positioning for the plank exercise and then how to immediately integrate that into the exercise itself for killer results.

https://youtu.be/gfadQYhckuQ

____________________________________________________________
Coming Soon:

  • We’re bringing a new PT on staff at the end of this month and we’re super excited to have her joining our team.  I’ll have more on Ms. Allie Hoyt in the next issue.
  • September 30th will be our first ever Lower Back Pain Workshop.  I’ll have more on this next month too but start thinking of loved ones suffering with lower back pain that may benefit from this.

Enjoy the rest of your month

Elite PT July 2017 Newsletter: Lower Back Pain, Employee Spotlight – Jesie Bott, Exercise Tips and more…

Hope you’re having a great summer and surviving the craziness that is northern Michigan in July.

This months newsletter features:

  • Employee Spotlight – Jesie Bott
  • Lower Back Pain – 80% of us are going to have it!
  • Exercise Tip of the Month

Employee Spotlight
Jessica “Jesie” Bott was our very first employee starting back in 2012.  She took a bit of a hiatus after giving birth to her daughter but she’s been back a couple years now and we love having her around as much as possible.  Jesie home schools her two children and works Fridays during the school year but in the summer we’re blessed to have her 2.5 days per week.  She’s got a ton of energy and really loves to get to know her patients and clients.  She does a great job for us here at Elite Physical Therapy so we wanted to tell her story.

Jesie is an Athletic Trainer and licensed massage therapist, graduating from Grand Valley State University in 2005.  Jesie has worked in the outpatient orthopedic setting since graduation, and also worked as the athletic trainer at Kingsley High School for 5 years.  Jesie is a Graston Technique Certified Clinician, and trained through Functional Movement Systems giving her the ability to critically analyze a person’s movement ability and develop exercise programs that really work!

Why did you become an ATC/LMT?
“I had an inclination toward sports and health and wanted a career that kept me physically active and challenged me mentally.  Athletic training was a perfect fit!”

What do you enjoy most about the job?
“What I truly like best about my job is helping people feel better. I’m passionate about it.  I want to see people get results and I’m happy to be a part of that.  At Elite, I enjoy the one on one experience with each patient as well as having the freedom and ability to use my knowledge and creativity to problem solve and do everything I can to help someone feel better.”

What do you do for fun?
“Other than working at Elite….:)  I enjoy spending quality time with my family.  We love to be outdoors, camping, playing in the water and playing with our sweet puppy.”

Jesie has been married to David Bott for 13 years and have two great kids – Chase and Clare.  Jesie also owns Freedom Massage Therapy and currently sees clients at Elite PT on Tuesdays and Fridays. You can call her at 231 357-0151 for more details.

___________________________________________________________________

Did you know that lower back pain will affect at least 80% of us at least once in our lifetimes.  Depending on the research article, once you’ve had a back pain episode, chances are between 60-80% that you’ll have recurring episodes beyond that.  Not great odds at all.

Here at Elite PT, lower back pain is the most common diagnosis that we treat.  There are numerous causes of lower back pain – some easier to fix than others, but it’s our job to figure that out.

One of the more common causes is Spinal Stenosis.  Stenosis literally means ‘narrowing’ and in this case the narrowing can cause compression and irritation to the nerves that leave the spinal cord and go out to the lower back, hips, and legs.  This causes pain across the lower back and can also produce symptoms into one or both legs.

spinal stenosis

How do you know that you may have Spinal Stenosis?

  • 50+ years old
  • Standing and walking increase symptoms
  • Sitting and lying down relieve symptoms
  • Leaning on the cart at the grocery store allows you to walk with less back pain

Spinal stenosis, like most types of lower back pain, is something that can absolutely be treated in physical therapy.  Certain muscles being ‘tight’ can create more compression and narrowing and therefore must be address using soft tissue techniques like massage, Graston Technique and dry needling.  Exercises must also be incorporated to stretch those tight muscles and improve how our joints move around the back and hips.

Other muscles tend to be ‘weak’, specifically the abdominals and glutes.  When strong and working with the right timing these muscles can reduce damaging forces across the spine.

A comprehensive physical therapy program that addresses all these factors can be extremely beneficial.

Here is what one of our former clients with spinal stenosis had to say:

Patient Testimonial
“I came to Elite taking medication to numb the pain in my back and legs so I could make it through the day.  Thanks to Jesie I have no more pain and know how to strengthen the muscles to help prevent the pain from returning.  She is a great therapist and I will use her again in the future if the need arises.”
– D.B. from Traverse City

__________________________________________________________________

Exercise Tip of the Week

Child’s Pose is a common yoga pose that produces flexion through the hips and spine.  For someone with spinal stenosis this movement frequently decreases or eliminates the person’s symptoms.  If it relieves your pain, then do it whenever you need relief!

Child's Pose

Try to sit back on your heels – unfortunately my knees don’t bend that far!

In the bottom position, take 4 breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Breathing in this manner decreases tone through the back muscles and also calms the nervous system bringing further relief.

For those with knee pain who can’t perform this exercise, try the seated floor press below.  It’s basically the same movement but with more body weight (usually fine but can be too much if you’re really sore).  Use the same breathing technique but be sure to put your hands on your knees to push yourself back up when you’re done.  This just takes some extra pressure off your back.
Seated Floor Press

You may find these simple exercises can make a huge difference in how you feel and how long you can be on your feet throughout the day.  If so, just keep doing them and you may just be able to keep yourself out of pain.

If you have all the signs and can only get temporary relief with the exercises then you probably would benefit from physical therapy.  Call us if you have questions (231 421-5805) and we could tell you if PT is for you.
____________________________________________________________

Have a great month of July with hopefully more warm weather to come.

We can be reached at 231 421-5805 or through email:  Joe@elitepttc.com if you have questions or if you just want to let us know how you’re doing.

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March

Elite PT June 2017 Newsletter – Dry Needling for Ankle and Foot Pain, Athlete Updates, and more…

Welcome to this month’s issue of the Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance newsletter.  Check out the short article and demo videos on dry needling, see what some of our graduating athletes will be up to in the Fall, as well as our ‘Exercise Tip of the Month’:

I can’t believe it’s already June and school’s just about out!

Here’s what’s new at Elite Physical Therapy this month:


Kristy Ockert MSPT just completed her first Functional Dry Needling course down at Grand Valley State University a few weeks ago.  She had a great time and learned some cool new techniques.  Since then she’s been practicing on Lydia and myself to fine tune her skills.  Follow the link below to see how its going!

We’ve seen numerous clients lately with calf pain, Achilles tendonitis, and plantarfasciits who’ve had great results with the combination of dry needling, Graston Technique, and exercise.  Here is what one of our clients with Achilles tendonitis had to say:

“I had issues walking at work and limited mobility in the ankle before therapy.  I can now walk all day at work and have no pain or swelling in the ankle area.” – K.W. from Grayling

In this case, PT was the last option prior to surgery.  Thankfully we were able to avoid surgery and get her back to work without pain.

There are certainly plenty more conditions that can benefit from dry needling in addition to the other physical therapy techniques that we employ.  Relieving pain and improving muscle function are big benefits of this technique.  To see more on dry needling, how it works, and a demonstration for treating neck pain and headaches, click the link HERE to check out the video on our home page.

If you have any questions about the technique or if you’re wondering if dry needling may work for you, feel free to give us a call at 231 421-5805.  Ask for Joe or Kristy.
________________________________________________
Athlete News

I want to acknowledge some of our past and present clients that will be moving on at the end of this school year to further pursue their athletic dreams.  These guys are a hard working bunch and will be missed!

Chris Kolarevic from St. Francis High School – will be playing football at the University of Northern Iowa.
Michael Hegewald from St. Francis High School – will be playing football at the University of Dayton.
Alec Trautman from Elk Rapids High School – will be playing football at the University of Dayton.
Will Russell from Traverse City East Middle School – will be attending the Steamboat Mountain School in Colorado skiing on their U16 Alpine Team.

________________________________________________

Exercise Tip of the Month

We’ve been talking about treatments for the lower leg and foot the past couple months so I thought I’d stick with this commonly injured area one more time.  Last month I showed a great way to improve the way the foot and ankle move – if you missed it just let me know and I can re-send that to you.  This month we’ll look at an easy way to begin strengthening.

Ankle Marching with mini-band

Place the band around your feet with the feet just wide enough that there is a small amount of tension on the band.  Bring the knees up toward your chest and flex the ankles back as far as possible.  Kick one leg out straight but keep the opposite leg motionless.

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March – Start Position

 

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March

Hip Flexor/Ankle Dorsiflexion March – Finish Position

The leg that remains motionless will actually be the leg that is working the hardest.  Do not let this leg follow the other!  Not only will you feel the muscles in the front of the lower leg working hard but you’ll also feel your hip and stomach muscles.  This exercise is typically done after stretching out the calf muscles and is done for 2 sets of 10 on each side.
________________________________________________

Have a great month and talk to you again in July!

Joe Heiler PT

 

 

Elite PT May 2017 Newsletter/Plantarfasciitis Treatment

In this month’s email newsletter we’re going to talk about treatments for foot and heel pain, a.k.a plantarfasciitis.

_____________________________________________________________

April was a super busy month with our first ‘Free Screening Day’.  We had 20 former patients come in plus a few new folks. It was great to catch up in addition to helping some of our former clients with their current injuries.  Big thanks to everyone who could make it out!

We’ll definitely be hosting another ‘Free Screening Day’ later in the year so we’ll keep you posted.
______________________________________________________________

Treatment Spotlight – Plantarfasciitis

It’s that time of year when we start seeing more and more folks with that stabbing pain into their arch and heel, better known as plantarfasciitis.  As we get more active in the nicer weather the muscles and tissues on the bottom of our feet can take a beating resulting in significant pain that will limit walking and running.

Fortunately there are some really cool things we can do treat this condition that you aren’t going to find elsewhere in northern Michigan – specifically Graston Technique and Dry Needling.  Check out the video below to see how we use Graston Technique to treat this condition.

http://www.elitepttc.com/graston-technique-and-plantarfasciosis

We’ve had great success treating these conditions.  Here’s what one former patient had to say:

“I’ve had foot pain since June of 2016 and 3 cortisone shots which never even touched the pain.  I started at Elite PT in February which has helped me to regain full use of my foot without any pain”. –  M.B. from Traverse City (March 2017)

Physical therapy can often be quite successful even when more aggressive measures like injections, bracing, and casting have failed.  This client of ours is back to standing at work all day and going back to the gym without pain.

If you are suffering from foot and heel pain, give us a call (231 421-5805).  We can help to relieve the pain and get you active again.

______________________________________________________________

Exercise Tip of the Month
One of the keys to relieving arch and heel pain is to improve the mobility of the ankle joint.  This is one area where most of us are lacking and it can predispose us to problems like plantarfasciitis.

Stretching the tissues of the calf and foot are great for improving ankle mobility and below is a picture of how we often have our clients self-stretch at home.

Hold the stick either at the tip of the middle toe (easier) or fifth toe (harder).  Keeping the heel down, glide the knee forward but around the outside of the stick.  You’ll notice how much more difficult it is to go around the stick versus just straight ahead or to the inside.  This is part of the trick to improving mobility of the ankle and it also strengths the muscles of your foot. Doing the stretch barefoot works best too.

This is a great exercise to not only treat plantarfasciitis but also to prevent it!
_____________________________________________________________

Have a great rest of the month and talk to you again in June.

Joe Heiler PT

 

ACL Injury Prevention 101

ACL injuries (anterior cruciate ligament) have been an epidemic in sports but even more so in women’s athletics.  Females are 3-4x more likely to tear their ACL than men.  A few of the main reasons are:

– poor mobility/flexibility
– insufficient strength levels
– improper jumping and cutting mechanics

ACL Injuries

Poor Landing Mechanics!

At our ACL Injury Prevention clinic you will learn the fundamentals of strength training, flexibilty, speed and agility, and jump training to become a better athlete while also decreasing the risk of devasting ACL injuries.  See our recent blog posts for more information on ACL injuries and examples of how we teach landing mechanics.

Athletes will work in small groups with our expert staff addressing each of these problem areas. They will also learn drills and exercises that can be done at home or within school training programs to continue to develop athletically.

Come ready to work and learn!

Cost is $10 per athlete

Who:  Middle and High School Female Athletes

Where:  Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance – 4177 Village Park Dr. Suite B Traverse City (next to Wuerfel Park)

When – February 11th 10am – noon

What to bring:  athletic attire, water bottle, and your energy!

Space is limited to 24 athletes so sign up today!

Bonus:  we’ll be offering a free movement screening session to attendees who would like to participate.  Screening consists of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), Y Balance test, plus jump and hop testing.  Exercise programs are then individually developed based on these test results.  Those interested can schedule their free screening by calling us at 231 421-5805.

UPDATE: The clinic was a big success and we definitely plan on doing it again. Here is what some attendees thought about the clinic:

“It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of new exercises” – A.R.

“I never realized how hard it would be to do some of these exercises. Or that my right leg was a lot stronger than my left leg” – A.H.

“The girls had a good time. It was really eye opening to see some good athletes struggle with controlling their landings. Thanks for doing this” – J.W. Parent.

We can also set up an ACL injury prevention clinic for your team. If you are interested just give me a call at 231 421-5805 or email Joe@elitepttc.com.